Know Your Numbers
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There are at least three numbers you need to know. Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Glucose.
We hope you will get to know your numbers and take steps to get them in a healthy target range. By having good numbers, you can reduce your risks of heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
By living a healthy lifestyle, including eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, and avoiding smoking, you can turn your numbers around.
Start by knowing your numbers. Make an appointment with your physician and discuss your numbers and what you can do to turn get them in a healthy range. If you don't have a primary care physician and would like help finding one, call Billings Clinic HealthLine.
Blood Pressure Target: 120/80 or less
Normal blood pressure is below 120/80.
Pre-hypertension is 120 to 139 (systolic) and/or 80 to 89 (diastolic).
Hypertension - also known as high blood pressure - is 140 or higher (systolic) and 90 or higher (diastolic).
Blood pressure can be more complicated than this. Please talk to your doctor about your blood pressure numbers.
Cholesterol Target: 200 or less
There is "good" cholesterol and "bad" cholesterol. When cholesterol and blood fats are measured, there are three different numbers: HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. They combine to give you a "lipid profile" score, but the three individual scores are most important.
Cholesterol numbers to strive for:
Total cholesterol of 200 mg/dL or lower.
HDL ("good" cholesterol) of 50 mg/dL or higher for women; or 40 mg/dL or higher for men.
Optimal LDL is 100 or lower. If you have other major risk factors, like pre-existing cardiovascular disease or diabetes, your doctor may want your LDL closer to 70.
Triglycerides of less than 150 mg/dL.
Adults 20 and older should get a lipid profile every five years. Please talk to your doctor about your cholesterol levels.
Glucose (Blood Sugar) Target: 100 or less (fasting)
Glucose is sugar stored in the blood as your body's main source of energy. Glucose levels in a blood sample taken from your vein (called a blood plasma value) may differ a little than glucose levels checked with a finger stick. Levels vary depending on when and how much you ate at your last meal. If the results of your fasting blood sugar test are between 100 mg/dL and 125 mg/dL, you may have pre-diabetes and should follow up with your primary care physician.
If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you need to have your A1C number checked. You A1C number tells you how well you're controlling your blood sugar over time. You should strive to the lowest A1C that can be achieved safely.
Left untreated, diabetes can lead to heart disease, blindness, amputation of arms or legs, and kidney disease. To take steps against diabetes early, see your doctor and know your numbers.
Learn more about screenings you should have as part of disease prevention and health maintenance.